Picking up a piece of yours, placing it on a new square and… Checkmate! That is how you win your chess matches. A board of sixty-four squares, six unique pieces, two colors, but a billion ways to play around it. That’s the beauty of chess! Is chess hard to learn?
No. Chess is not hard to learn. It has a simple set of rules and a simpler set of requirements to play. To play chess, you need two P’s – ‘Practice and Patience’. Make it three, if you are playing it offline – ‘Practice, Patience, and pieces of chess to play with.
Starters for chess
It’s easy to understand and learn, but hard to master. This is why chess is chess. All you need to know to start playing chess as a beginner is how the pieces move. There are many apps that can help you get started with chess. ‘Learn chess with Dr.wolf’ is one such reliable app. If you can read this article, you can also learn to play chess. All it takes is an electronic device with a network. That, you seem to have. So, we are already off to a good start!
A gold mine for chess learning
YouTube is the best place to learn about chess. There are many channels dedicated to analyzing games played by elites. Going step by step through the moves, decoding and explaining the plausible reasoning behind them. The YouTube channel named ‘Agadmator Chess channel’, does so passionately that the owner of the channel is the torch-bearer of chess content in the YouTube space. On the other hand, many Indian channels have started to attract buzz from all over the world, which has led to a community of chess streamers and chess lovers learning the game and possibly falling in love with it.
Reason for the sudden chess buzz
- Queens Gambit, a Netflix show that has taken everyone’s attention, is a well-known reason for this buzz. However, if you were to rewind the clock a little bit, the main reason would turn out to be the Indian chess community.
- A bunch of streamers get together and celebrate chess. Most notably, influencers go by the channel names – Samay Raina, Chess Base India, Vidit Gujrathi, Chess Talk. Uploading short clips of chess fails, funny commentary, detailed game analysis and breakdown, and also holding live streams that invite a fun, interactive milieu for the audience.
Pieces and movement
- There are six unique pieces you play with. The line of eight Pawns at the front guarding the file (from left to right of the white side): Rook, Knight, Bishop, Queen, King, Bishop, Knight, and Rook.
- The Queen is the most powerful in terms of movement and the King is the weakest. Ironically, the priority for the player is to protect their king and attack the opponents’ king (which is considered as the weakest piece).
- Bishop – Moves diagonally. Like the alphabet ‘X’ (cross), the bishop stands at the intersection of those two lines.
- Rook – Moves like the symbol ‘+’ (plus), the rook stands at the intersection of those two.
- Pawn – A pawn can move one or two steps forward. But after the following pawn is moved, it can only move one step forward from now on. However, it can only kill pieces diagonally in front of them. Interestingly, if you take your pawn across the board, reaching the final file on the other side, you can promote it to a Knight, Rook, Bishop, or Queen.
- Knight – The knight is an L shape. Draw an L from the square in which the knight stands. The L should be measured as such-three squares in any of the four straight directions. For the long line (including the square on which the knight stands) and one square accounting for its perpendicular shorter line. Interestingly, the knight can also jump over pieces, the only piece to possess such an ability.
- The King can move within one adjacent square in any direction.
- Queen – Combine the movements of a rook, a bishop, and the king. Those are the options available to you to move your queen. So, in the direction of a ‘+’, ‘X’ and one adjacent square in any direction.
The goal of the game
- The purpose of the game is to checkmate the opponents’ king. There is always the option for either player to resign if they feel like they are losing the grip of the match. But my personal experience would say – Don’t give up!
Aim of the game
- A good starting aim should be to hold on to a strong position wherein you hold the center of the board. Following that, you would save your king in a move called castling.
- Castling means shifting the king from the center to a corner by switching places with the rook that was positioned in the corner at the start of the game.
- Your aim should be to capture the opponent’s king, wherein the opponent’s king cannot be saved by any possible move. That is Checkmate. Killing your opponent’s king.
Style of a Chess Player
Basically, there are two types of chess players.
- Positional – Chess players who hold on to a strong position and look for their opponents to make a mistake.
- Tactical – Players that set up traps or force moves that would only work if their opponent falls for it.
There is no compulsion to categorize yourself as one of the two. By playing the game over and over again and finding your strike, you will realize your place.
1. Can chess be learned for free?
Ans – Technically, yes. Playing it online with friends or other anonymous players on compatible sites like Chess.com or apps like Chess Free. Understand the workings of chess by following dedicated YouTube channels.
2. Can a career be made by playing chess?
Ans – Yes, most people make a career in chess by playing it professionally. However, people have started to use streaming as a way to make money from chess, but by means of entertainment.
3.What are the different types of chess game formats?
Ans – Almost all chess game formats have time as a factor in them. Some formats, like Blitz and Bullet, which last for ten minutes and five minutes respectively, force the player to take the time factor as a priority. Whereas, other formats require finding the best move as a priority.
4.Is there any recent noteworthy events going on in the chess community?
Ans – Yes, in the Indian chess community, there is an anticipated tournament coming up named ‘Comedians on board’. Which involves influencers making a place for themselves in the chess community. In the professional field, there is the FIDE world cup, which is worth watching.
5.What can be good advice for a beginner?
Ans – Keep playing the game as much as you can. If you find a move to make, think of what your opponent’s reply will be. This helps you assess the power of your own moves and allows you to see the various possibilities that the game can shape itself into.
Again, chess is not hard to learn. Chess players can always be found making comparisons between chess and life. Saying how when you only keep thinking and don’t act, you amount to nothing. By acting and not thinking about it first, you can lead yourself to the same place-nowhere. Understand the rules, be patient and keep trying. In this age of the internet, we have the highest power a human can possess–the power to be anything. It is worth trying to be a chess aficionado.
A wise person once said the best day to start something worth trying was yesterday. The second-best day is today. So, get started. All the best. Good game!